Why were the Mother Sauces developed? Funny you should ask. In the 19th century, Mother Sauces were prepared as a cost saving measure. Huge quantities were produced and then divided into smaller portions. From there, different ingredients were added to add variety to the meals.
Béchamel (or white sauce for people who don’t like fancy French words) is one of the most versatile of the Mother Sauces. A béchamel sauce is a simple sauce that is made from cooking a roux (equal parts flour and butter) with milk.
You can add mustard for a mustard sauce. Add cream instead of milk for a cream sauce. (This is when you should think that maybe the fancy French names DO make the food sound more exciting).
Not as simple but just as tasty are Mornay (gruyere and parmesan cheese) and Soubise (pureed sautéed onions).
See, the adaptations are endless! This is where it gets interesting….did you know the sauce for macaroni and cheese is a subsidiary of béchamel? Crazy, I know, but it is!
I think it would be a safe bet to say that every household has served macaroni and cheese in some way, shape or form.
The recipe I posted today is a version of macaroni and cheese I learned in a cooking class. You can adapt the recipe to fit your favorite cheeses and toppings. In this case, I mixed blue cheese with cheddar cheese. If you are anti-blue, you can make it without but it really add a nice subtle nutty flavor.
“Blue & Gold” Macaroni and Cheese
3 Tbsp butter (room temp)
3 Tbsp flour
3-½ cups milk
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar
4 ounces blue cheese
½ pound of your favorite macaroni (mini penne for me today) cooked but not overcooked.
1 cup panko bread crumbs (or any crumb you prefer)
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add butter.
- Once butter is completely melted, add flour.
- Stir for 2 minutes to get the “flour taste” cooked off
- Slowly whisk milk into the flour.
- While whisking, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
- Cook for another 10 minutes. Stir often!
- Mix cheddar and blue cheese together and reserve a couple of tablespoons for the topping.
- Take the pan off of the heat and stir in cheese mixture.
- Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper.
- Pour over cooked macaroni and stir to make sure each piece is coated.
- Grease your baking dish and spread mixture into the dish.
- Mix the reserved cheese with the panko crumbs and sprinkle on top.
- Bake for about 30 minutes so it gets bubbly and slightly brown.
After you make this mac & cheese from scratch, you will only use a box mix in a macaroni and cheese emergency or if you decide to go back to college!